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Mizzou 2009, Part Fourteen: 2010 and Beyond

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UPDATE: Depth Chart updated after news of Blaine Dalton's dismissal.

The season is barely over a week away, and it is impossible not to be intrigued and excited by the completely unexpected nature of 2009.  We think we know what to expect from Blaine Gabbert, Danario Alexander, Andrew Jones, Andrew Gachkar, Kenji Jackson, Kevin Rutland, the lawfirm of Smith, Smith, and Coulter, and all the other guys who will be playing new roles this season, but we don't really know.

But there's an added variable of interest, at least for me, when it comes to the 2009 season: the 2010 season.  We want to win another North title--as I was saying this time last year, if Mizzou wins the North in 2009, it's over ("it" being competition in the North division) for a while, thanks for playing, everybody go home.  We want to win the division, make a nice bowl, prove that Mizzou is to "reload, not rebuild" stage, et cetera.  But really, the single most prevalent, overriding goal of 2009 is simply to not mess up 2010 and beyond.  In a major rebuilding/reloading season, Oklahoma went 7-5 in 2005, which would be like about 4-8 for Missouri, and then they won three straight Big 12 titles.  It didn't matter whether OU went 5-6 or 7-5 or 10-2 that season--what mattered was that, even with the proceeding Rhett Bomar drama, they got experience, stuck together, and improved as the season progressed, and they were ready to go on a major winning streak when 2006 came around.

With that in mind, let's take a look at 2010 and 2011, and what could be in store if 2009 doesn't, in one way or another (catastrophic injuries, unexpected defection, damaged chemistry, etc.), derail the gameplan.  For this exercise, we will more or less assume that the depth charts I've been projecting over the last couple of weeks come true, and we will use that assumption for the projected 2010 and 2011 depth charts.

2010

Boldface = returning (projected) starter
Asterisk = proj. number of years having started
x = no current scholarship player or known walk-on to fill the position

I'm intentionally leaving off any currently-committed recruits because Missouri has proven time and again that, while they'll almost certainly play some true freshmen, trying to figure out which ones ahead of time is a fool's game.  A 2-star is almost as likely to come in and earn PT as a 4-star.

Pos. Player Pos Player
QB Blaine Gabbert (Jr.)*
Jimmy Costello (Jr.)
Ashton Glaser (RSFr.)
DE Aldon Smith (So.)*
Brad Madison (So.)
Brayden Burnett (RSFr.)
RB Derrick Washington (Sr.)**
De'Vion Moore (Jr.)
Kendial Lawrence (So.)
DT Terrell Resonno (Jr.)*
Jimmy Burge (So.)
George White (So.)
WR Jerrell Jackson (Jr.)
T.J. Moe (So.)
Kerwin Stricker (RSFr.)
DT Dominique Hamilton (Jr.)
Marvin Foster (RSFr.)
Chris Earnhardt (Jr.)
WR L'Damian Washington (So.)
Rolandis Woodland (So.)
Jaleel Clark (RSFr.)
DE Jacquies Smith (Jr.)*
Michael Sam (So./RSFr.)
Marcus Malbrough (So.)
WR Wes Kemp (Jr.)*
Gahn McGaffie (So.)
Brandon Gerau (Jr.)
SLB Andrew Gachkar (Sr.)*
Zaviar Gooden (So.)
x
TE Andrew Jones (Jr.)*
Michael Egnew (Jr.)
Alex Sanders (RSFr.)
MLB Luke Lambert (Sr.)**
Donovan Bonner (So.)
Andrew Wilson (RSFr.)
LT Elvis Fisher (Jr.)**
Justin Britt (So./RSFr.)
Kirk Lakebrink (Sr.)
WLB Will Ebner (Jr.)
Josh Tatum (Jr.)
Tyler Crane (Jr.)
LG Austin Wuebbels (Jr.)*
Jayson Palmgren (Jr.)
Mike Prince (Sr.)
CB Carl Gettis (Sr.)***
Trey Hobson (Jr.)
Kip Edwards (So.)
C Tim Barnes (Sr.)**
Travis Ruth (So.)
x
CB Kevin Rutland (Sr.)*
Robert Steeples (So.)
Munir Prince (Sr.)
RG J.T. Beasley (Jr.)
Daniel Jenkins (So.)
Mark Hill (RSFr.)
FS Kenji Jackson (Jr.)**
Jarrell Harrison (Sr.)
Tavon Bolden (RSFr.)
RT Dan Hoch (Jr.)*
Jack Meiners (So.)
Chris Freeman (RSFr.)
SS Jasper Simmons (Sr.)*
Matt White (RSFr.)
Randy Ponder (RSFr.)
K Grant Ressel (Jr.)*
Trey Barrow (So.)
P Matt Grabner (Jr.)
Grant Ressel (Jr.)
PR T.J. Moe (So.)*
Carl Gettis (Sr.)
KR Jasper Simmons (Sr.)*
Kendial Lawrence (So.)


This year, we enter the season with a combined seven seasons of starting experience on offense and six on defense.  Next year, it looks like about 11 on offense and 13 on defense.

Notes about the depth chart:

  • It bears mentioning that there's no way in hell somebody doesn't transfer or quit (UPDATE: or get thrown off the team for driving while intoxicated...on campus, ahem) between now and 12 months from now.  Look at some of the younger guys on the third-string, trapped behind guys just as young or younger (i.e. look at the defensive line), if you want to get some pretty good red flags in that regard.
  • There will also be some position changes, offense-to-defense switches, etc.  I have my own ideas about who or what those changes will be, but I tried to stay as close as possible to current positions (OL and LB aside).  I wanted to make as few assumptions as possible here.
  • THREE senior scholarship players on the offensive three-deep, and only seven on defense.  This team will still be ridiculously young NEXT year.
  • Missouri currently has commitments from four defensive backs (five if Jimmie Hunt switches to defense), so it will be quite interesting to see how many (if any) are worked into the rotation, being that DB is about the only senior-dominated unit for 2010.  I mean, that's a pretty stout rotation right there.  I guess there's a potential slot available at SS, but otherwise a true freshman would have to come in and truly dominated to pass some of those experienced guys.
  • I can't tell you how curious I am to see L'Damian Washington and T.J. Moe in action this year (I'm just going to assume that neither redshirt).  If one or both can play to at least the level that Jared Perry and Danario Alexander did as true freshmen, then this WR corps should be quite stout with Kemp and Jackson as the veterans, Washington/Moe as the third starter, and a host of other guys who will get a shot to show potential this year.
  • Good god, how good is the offensive line going to be in 2010 (and 2011)??

Now the schedule:

Date Team Comments
9/4 vs Illinois No Juice or (probably) Benn, but...Eddie McGee!!!1!!!  Mizzou will probably be favored in this one.
9/11 McNeese State Yawn.
9/18 ? I'm curious who we aim for with this spot.  Clearly it will be a home game, since it's Mizzou's turn to "host" Kansas at Arrowhead, and you have to figure it will be a non-BCS team as well (duh), but no idea whether we're aiming for a Nevada type or an Idaho type.
9/25 Miami-OH They really haven't been very good for since Big Ben left.
10/9 Colorado As down as I am about CU in 2009, they should be pretty experienced and potentially solid in the trenches next year.  It looks like they'll still have Cody Hawkins at QB, of course, but they should be decent.
10/16 at Texas A&M Never fun going to College Station, but this one's winnable.
10/23 Oklahoma As Lou Brown would say, one of these days we're gonna figure out how to beat those guys.
10/30 at Nebraska The 2009 NU offense will dictate what I think about the 2010 Huskers.  No idea right now, but a trip to Lincoln is a trip to Lincoln.
11/6 at Texas Tech Are you noticing something about the 2010 schedule yet?  Only one game in Columbia after 10/23.  Yikes.
11/13 Kansas State Until Bill Snyder proves something the second time around, this is a win.
11/20 at Iowa State Until Paul Rhoads proves something, anything at all, this is a win.
11/27 vs Kansas Kansas loses Reesing, Meier, Briscoe (probably), Sharp, Stuckey, Thornton...pretty much every player you can name, they will be gone in 2010.  KU has recruited well and looks to be in a "Mizzou 2009" situation next year (hoping to prove they reload instead of rebuild), but Mizzou will definitely have the experienced advantage in this one.


Knowing what we know, it's safe to assume that, even if Missouri wins the North in 2009, people will be picking Nebraska in 2010 (with Colorado as the sleeper), so we should just prepare for it now!  Mizzou will clearly have a major role to play in the 2010 race, but a) a million things, good or bad, could happen between now and then, and b) the "almost everything on the road" home stretch is a little intimidating, even if Mizzou will potentially be favored in at least three of the five road trips.

2011

Clearly it's silly to get too worked up, one way or the other, about something that will begin 24 months into the future.  But if people stay healthy and develop like Mizzou tends to develop players, then WOW is this team loaded, especially on an offensive line that will have at least three multi-year starters and return four starters overall, and on a defensive line that will be stacked and experienced...and this is without even considering Sheldon Richardson's presence.

Of course, the key to 2011 expectations will be Blaine Gabbert.  At 6'5, 240, with a cannon attached to his right arm, he is exactly what pro scouts look for in a quarterback, and if he has any success at all in 2009 and 2010, people will be assuming he's going pro.  If he comes back like Colt McCoy, or if he leaves like Josh Freeman, it will have a tremendous impact on expectations.  There will be plenty of options if he leaves--Blaine Dalton, maybe 2010 commit James Franklin, or of course Jimmy Costello or Ashton Glaser--but obviously the overall outlook will be clouded in part by Gabbert's decision*.

* The more I talk about this, the more I feel like I'm unleashing a monster jinx regarding Gabbert's health, so I'm goign to shut up about it now.

Pos. Player Pos Player
QB Blaine Gabbert (Sr.)**
Jimmy Costello (Sr.)
Ashton Glaser (So.)
DE Aldon Smith (Jr.)**
Brad Madison (Jr.)
Brayden Burnett (So.)
RB De'Vion Moore (Sr.)
Kendial Lawrence (Jr.)
Gilbert Moye (Sr.)
DT Terrell Resonno (Sr.)**
Jimmy Burge (Jr.)
George White (Jr.)
WR Jerrell Jackson (Sr.)*
T.J. Moe (Jr.)
Kerwin Stricker (So.)
DT Dominique Hamilton (Sr.)*
Marvin Foster (So.)
Chris Earnhardt (Sr.)
WR L'Damian Washington (Jr.)*
Rolandis Woodland (Jr.)
Jaleel Clark (So.)
DE Jacquies Smith (Sr.)**
Michael Sam (Jr./So.)
Adam Burton (So.)
WR Wes Kemp (Sr.)**
Gahn McGaffie (Jr.)
Brandon Gerau (Sr.)
SLB Zaviar Gooden (Jr.)
x
x
TE Andrew Jones (Sr.)**
Michael Egnew (Sr.)
Alex Sanders (So.)
MLB Donovan Bonner (Jr.)
Andrew Wilson (So.)
x
LT Elvis Fisher (Sr.)***
Justin Britt (Jr./So.)
x
WLB Will Ebner (Sr.)*
Josh Tatum (Sr.)
x
LG Austin Wuebbels (Sr.)**
Jayson Palmgren (Sr.)
x
CB Trey Hobson (Sr.)
Kip Edwards (Jr.)
x
C Travis Ruth (Jr.)
x
x
CB Robert Steeples (Jr.)
x
x
RG J.T. Beasley (Sr.)*
Daniel Jenkins (Jr.)
Mark Hill (So.)
FS Kenji Jackson (Sr.)***
Tavon Bolden (So.)
x
RT Dan Hoch (Sr.)**
Jack Meiners (Jr.)
Chris Freeman (So.)
SS Matt White (So.)
Randy Ponder (So.)
Tony Randolph (Sr.)
K Grant Ressel (Sr.)**
Trey Barrow (Jr.)
P Matt Grabner (Sr.)*
Grant Ressel (Sr.)
PR T.J. Moe (Jr.)*
x
KR Kendial Lawrence (Jr.)
x

 

  • Sixteen seasons of starting experience on offense, 12 on defense.  Solid experience everywhere, but just ridiculous experience in the trenches.  Gabbert or no Gabbert, there's reason to be optimistic about the future just because of that.
  • As mentioned earlier, the secondary is really the only unit looking at taking a decent-sized hit this season.  Same with linebackers, really, but we're all so excited about guys like Ebner, Bonner, Gooden, etc., that it seems like at least a bit less of a concern.
Date Team Comments
9/3 ? We can just assume that the three ?'s on the schedule will likely be filled with the usual: a BCS conference team, a decent non-BCS team, and a craptastic non-BCS team.  Who those are is obviously up in the air, though I'll say this: I think ESPN and other networks will start trying harder and harder to manufacture good non-conference matchups by offering to pay both participants a decent amount of money.  At some point, that will become a cost-effective thing to do, and I think you'll start seeing more matchups coming about in that way.  No idea who Missouri might get paired with in such a scenario, but it might do us well to assume that it's possible to be anybody between Oregon and Miami, not just a regional matchup like Arkansas or Iowa.
9/10 ?
9/17 ?
9/24 Western Illinois Yawn.
10/1 at Colorado At the very least, CU should have a very good offensive line in 2011, whether Dan Hawkins is still there or not.
10/15 Texas A&M All the sophomores currently on their two-deep will be seniors, so they could be pretty decent, whether Mike Sherman is still there or not (and with his ridiculously lengthy contract, he probably will be).
10/22 at Oklahoma I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Missouri will not be favored in this one.
10/29 Nebraska 2011 is the anti-2010.  Three of five down the stretch are at home, and they don't give up the home game against Kansas.  Obviously we have no idea about any of the final five teams two years out, but it's certainly possible that Mizzou will be favored in all five, or at least four of them.
11/5 Texas Tech
11/12 at Kansas State
11/19 Iowa State
11/26 vs Kansas

 

Summary

The point of this exercise was simply to hammer home the point that Missouri will not only be playing for 2009 this year, but 2010 and 2011 as well.  If recruiting continues to improve, or if a spate of injuries completely changes the outlook of the program, then these depth charts are about as far from realistic as possible, but the take-home point is simply this: if Missouri does disappoint in 2009, and clearly it's possible, it really will not affect the long-term prognosis of the program as long as the chemistry stays tight, the players stay healthy, and the players continue to improve.  I really want Mizzou to shut everybody up and win another North title (and hey, throw in 10 wins for good measure), but Mizzou will likely survive long-term no matter what happens in 2009, and that's a pretty exciting thought to fall back on if things don't go as planned over the next four months.

2009 Mizzou Football Preview Series